HIST 5702W: Towards an Indigenous Museology: Encounter, Exchange and Relational Practice
Winter 2025 

Instructor: Alexandra Kahsenni:io Nahwegahbow

Introduction: This course will present Indigenous history through careful examination of moments of encounter as they have been mediated through visual and material culture and display. In drawing from the work of Mary Louise Pratt and her understanding of “the contact zone,” this course aims to foreground the interactive material dimensions of encounter and will seek to explore these cross-cultural exchanges by complicating simplified models of conquest/domination and stimulus/response, and instead will present a primary focus on the agency of Indigenous peoples in the ongoing interactions of the contact zone. Topics revisited throughout the term will include issues of trope and stereotype, histories of collecting, the politics of display, imposed systems of colonial control, cross-cultural understandings of value, and the movement towards Indigenous and decolonial museologies. Working from a pedagogical framework centered on visiting, relationality and “kitchen table talk,” this course will consider the ways in which Indigenous and decolonial practices have- and continue to- generate and mobilize epistemologies of resistance and liberation within and beyond the museum walls.

Class Format: In-person seminar once per week in a three-hour block.

Assessment: Students will be evaluated based on a combination of in-class participation, leading class discussion, one written/creative assignment, and a final essay. 

Text:  Texts will be provided on Ares or the course site.

Questions? Please email: Alexandra.Nahwegahbow@carleton.ca